breast cancer Oncology

Words can change a person’s life. Choose them carefully.

August 24, 2017

I’m not going to tell you about the last week in any detail because 1: I’ve moved on from there now and 2: it was unpleasant. Although I try my best to blog about the good, the bad and the damn right ugly of cancer, sometimes you must ignore things and not give them any recognition at all simply because they don’t deserve it.

I’ve learned a lot this week. Firstly, never underestimate the power of how you say something, eloquence, empathy, optimism go a long way when talking to someone who has terminal cancer. When I’m afraid of needles and have impossible veins don’t say “nobody likes needles.” It’s not going to help me. I’m talking about myself here, nobody else. Being disagreeable with me about how I’m feeling or being cold and unsympathetic will usually get my back up.

There’s sometimes a difference in the way somebody speaks to you and the way you perceive it, but I always trust my instinct and you must try to do the same because usually if you feel like someone’s tone is off, you’ll be correct.

So last week when I was told that my liver was not in the best way and suddenly I was left with only one treatment left to try until the liver improved, or it was game over. It’s not that the news was delivered in a bad way-far from it, but it was all very neutral information, I didn’t feel like there was much hope for me. This was now a game of Russian roulette and there were only two bullets left in the revolver.

The last seven days have been the most scary of my entire life. It really hit home that with cancer, things can change for you in a heartbeat, and not always in a good way. It also taught me that time is so kind to us sometimes, but we simply don’t value it enough. Time helps us to heal, get strong again and rebuild even following the worst tragedies. I spent last week constantly crying thinking about those two bullets; this week I’m a different girl, and it wasn’t purely time and clarity that helped me to regain my strength, it was another doctor I know very well who simply spoke to me in a different way. She’s a very smiley and upbeat person and reminded me of all the positives, such as being a good responder to treatment, and having no blockages in my liver. In ten minutes my whole mindset changed, I’m not going to die tomorrow or next month, so why am I wasting my life thinking it’s already over? I’m not saying that the doctors who’ve treated me aren’t exceptional-they are all lovely, but it takes a special person to be able to change someone’s mindset in that way-it’s a gift.

I don’t want people to lie to me or give me false hope, but there’s nothing wrong with being hopeful for me-absolutely nothing.

Love Caroline x

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